Yesterday at the Digital Health Conference I had the chance to catch up with George Cuthbert from Medent. He’d emailed me a few months back about the potential benefit of Windows 8 in the EHR world and the deep integration of Win 8 that they’d been working on to leverage the unique abilities of Windows 8 for their EHR users.
I admit that since I’ve become more of a health IT blogger and less of a techguy, I haven’t kept close track of all that was happening with Windows 8. I knew that it was designed to incorporate touch as a major focal point of the new Operating System and I knew that it was Microsoft’s attempt to integrate the best of touch together with the advantages of data input using a keyboard and mouse.
Based on the short demo that George did for me of Win 8 and the Medent EHR, it has some real promise. In fact, as the title suggests, I think that if an EHR vendor does it right this could solve the issues that so many EHR vendors have of trying to create an iPad EHR application.
This may sound a little outlandish and certainly many doctors have a special love affair with Apple products. However, I think that most doctors don’t care if it’s an iPad or Windows 8. They just want the iPad like touch interface which allows them to smoothly consume data from their EHR. The Fujitsu model that George showed me has the potential to do just that. In fact, it was quite beautiful how seamlessly you could go from the tablet to a laptop workstation and back.
The biggest challenge that most EHR software will have with this idea is that their EHR isn’t built for touch. Just because Windows 8 makes touch possible doesn’t mean that it will be a good experience to use that way. That’s true for iPad as well and is the major reason why Citrix access to your EHR on your iPad isn’t a great solution. Touch requires a very different interface. George and Medent realize this and you could see the thought and effort they’ve been putting in to transform their interface into a touch optimized experience.
Obviously, I think we’ll still see plenty of iPad in healthcare and iPad EHR. However, I have a feeling that many in healthcare will be just as happy with the Windows 8 touch implementation.